Lalita Kumari III

Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1 was analyzed by a Three-Judge Bench in Yashwant Sinha v. CBI, (2020) 2 SCC 338. Two-Judge Bench in State of Telangana v. Managipet, (2019) 19 SCC 87 noted, while Lalita Kumari held a preliminary enquiry was desirable in cases of alleged corruption, that does not vest a right in accused to demand a preliminary enquiry. Also see, Charansingh v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 5 SCC 469.

All these decisions do not mandate, a preliminary enquiry must be conducted before registration of an FIR in corruption cases. FIR will not stand vitiated because a preliminary enquiry has not been conducted. This conclusion is also supported by Constitution Bench in K. Veeraswami v. Union of India, (1991) 3 SCC 655.

The precedents of this Court and provisions of CBI Manual make it abundantly clear, a preliminary enquiry is not mandatory in all cases which involve allegations of corruption. The proposition, a preliminary enquiry is mandatory is plainly contrary to law, for it is not only contrary to Lalita Kumari but would also tear apart framework created by CBI Manual.

This view is also supported by Three-Judge Bench in Union of India v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 4 SCC 761 which reversed Two-Judge Bench in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 6 SCC 454.

Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, CBI v. T.H. Vijayalakshmi, [Criminal Appeal No. 1045 of 2021].